Ireland

The Best of Ireland: A Week on the Emerald Isle

Program No. 22088RJ
Go off the beaten path and learn the story of Ireland as you speak with locals, taste authentic cuisine, discover ancient traditions and enjoy expert-led excursions to historic sites.

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Protecting the Environment

We offset a portion of the emissions created by your travel. Learn more

At a Glance

From the ancient structures of Cashel to the academic legacy of Trinity College to the cultural hub of Dublin, experience the best of Ireland on this week-long learning adventure. Proud locals and knowledgeable experts take you off the tourist trail to show you the true meaning of their country’s heritage sites and centuries-old traditions.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 3 miles with some stairs in historic buildings.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Hear from a local expert as you explore the historic countryside of the Ring of Kerry.
  • Explore historic Trinity College.
  • Learn the story of Irish emigration to America and visit Cobh, the point of embarkation for millions of Irish setting sail for the New World.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials. Give us a call to combine this learning adventure with select dates of "The Best of Northern Ireland: Past, Present and Future" (#22092) for even more learning in Ireland!
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Year
2024
  • 2024
  • 2025
Date and Direction
Oct 16 - Oct 24 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Apr 24 - May 02 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • May 01 - May 09 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • May 08 - May 16 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • May 15 - May 23 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Jun 05 - Jun 13 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Jul 03 - Jul 11 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Jul 31 - Aug 08 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Aug 14 - Aug 22 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Aug 28 - Sep 05 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Sep 04 - Sep 12 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Sep 11 - Sep 19 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Sep 18 - Sep 26 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Oct 16 - Oct 24 (Cork to Dublin.)
Please Note: The program differs on certain dates.
Please Note: The program differs on certain dates.
Select trip year and date
2024
  • 2024
  • 2025
Oct 16 - Oct 24 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Apr 24 - May 02 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • May 01 - May 09 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • May 08 - May 16 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • May 15 - May 23 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Jun 05 - Jun 13 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Jul 03 - Jul 11 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Jul 31 - Aug 08 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Aug 14 - Aug 22 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Aug 28 - Sep 05 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Sep 04 - Sep 12 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Sep 11 - Sep 19 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Sep 18 - Sep 26 (Cork to Dublin.)
  • Oct 16 - Oct 24 (Cork to Dublin.)
While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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9 days
8 nights
14 meals
7 B 2 L 5 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Dublin, To Cork, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Cork
D
Clayton Hotel Cork City

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Orientation: 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This program is staffed with a Group Leader who will accompany us throughout the program and deal with logistics, deliver informal talks, conduct some field trips, and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. At various points during the program, we will be joined by local experts, who will lecture and conduct field trips. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll have a plated and served dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Cork, Cobh, Titanic Trail, The Queenstown Story
Cork
B,D
Clayton Hotel Cork City

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 40 miles, approximately 2.5 hours. Walking approximately 1.5 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas, gravel paths, grass lawns. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice. Transport arrangements and driving distances for dinner with local families vary.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, we’ll have a full Irish breakfast buffet with varying choices including a variety of eggs, breakfast meats, tomato, potatoes, cereals, fruit, toast, pastries and jams, plus juices, coffee, tea water.

Morning: Boarding a motorcoach, we’ll set out for a panoramic field trip around Cork with commentary provided by a local expert who will explain the historical and architectural significance of major sites along our route. We’ll see the 19th-century Gothic Revival cathedral dedicated to the city’s patron saint Finbarr, the haunting remains of the iconic St Anne’s Asylum buildings overlooking the River Lee, and the 1930s City Hall built after the Irish War of Independence. Our field trip will finish in the bustling city center, where we will have some time for independent exploration.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will have a lecture on Irish Culture delivered by a local expert in a function room at a local hotel. At the conclusion of our lecture we'll board our motorcoach for our transfer to Cobh. Here we will join our local expert for a gentle walk on the Titanic Trail through Cobh, a picturesque seaside town steeped in maritime history. It was the final port of call for the ill-fated RMS Titanic and the departure point for many immigrants to the Americas. We'll follow their story at the Queenstown Story Heritage Centre where we can retrace the steps of the 2.5 million adults and children who emigrated from Ireland on coffin ships, early steamers, and finally on the great liners. After the field trip, we’ll meet members of the families who will host our dinners this evening, and travel to their homes.

Dinner: In the homes of local host families from the surrounding area, we’ll be treated to family-style meals featuring traditional dishes. Whilst chatting with our hosts and savoring home-cooked Irish cuisine, we’ll learn about the rhythm of daily Irish life. This hosted dinner is subject to confirmation dependent on restrictions and availability.

Evening: After returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
4
The Ring of Kerry, Kissane Sheep Farm
Cork
B,D
Clayton Hotel Cork City

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 215 miles, approximately 7 hours; stops for field trips. Walking approximately 3 miles, periods of standing; varied terrain including paved streets, grass with uneven rocky areas, stone paving, gravel paths, sandy beach.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This morning we’ll travel by motorcoach with a local expert to explore the Ring of Kerry. We’ll drive to Killarney and begin our panoramic journey around this famous area of outstanding natural beauty. The circuit will take in the towns of Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel, and Sneem. We will also learn about the special geography and climate as we travel around.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in the delightful village of Waterville.

Afternoon: The picturesque village of Sneem comprises two squares, North and South, with a bridge acting as a knot between them. We’ll have some time to explore the village independently on foot as we continue our field trip around the Ring of Kerry. After regrouping, we will also visit the family-run Kissane Sheep Farm in Kenmare, County Kerry. A traditional, working farm with approximately 1,000 mountain sheep and hundreds of lambs, the farm is run by John and Anne Kissane, and has been in the hands of the same family for the last 150 years. One of the farmers will lead us around the fields and yards, explaining the Kissanes’ efforts to preserve the heritage of Irish mountain sheep farming, and we’ll see some of the seasonal activities that take place on the farm.

Dinner: At a local restaurant en route back to Cork, we’ll have a plated and served meal.

Evening: After returning to the hotel by motorcoach, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
5
Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, Blarney Stone
Cork
B
Clayton Hotel Cork City

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 130 miles, approximately 3.5 hours. Walking approximately 3 miles, periods of standing; varied terrain including paved streets, grass with uneven rocky areas, gravel paths, wooden boardwalks; steps to some areas at Rock of Cashel and Blarney Castle, including stone spiral staircases.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We'll board the motorcoach this morning and ride to the Rock of Cashel. A spectacular high medieval site dominating sweeping plains, its chapel, cathedral, and castle are full of fascinating history. During our field trip at this historic seat of the Kingdom of Munster, we’ll gain an understanding of southern Ireland’s history both before and after the Norman Conquest.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like in Cashel.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we will make our way by motorcoach to Blarney Castle – home of the famous Blarney Stone. Tradition dictates that the gift of eloquence is conferred on all those who kiss the stone! Our Group Leader will introduce the castle’s 800-year history en route and, once we arrive, we’ll have some time to explore the castle and grounds independently. Following our visit, we will return to Cork by motorcoach. The remainder of the day will be free for independent exploration.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Transfer to Dublin, Waterford
Dublin.
B,L,D
Academy Plaza Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 190 miles, approximately 4.5 hours. Walking approximately 1.5 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, gravel paths.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll begin our journey via motorcoach to Dublin, via Waterford. While here, we'll visit the House of Waterford Crystal to see the traditional artisan skills of mouth blowing, hand finishing, sculpting, and engraving, which results in the incredible crystal glass pieces. Following the visit, we'll walk the short distance to the Waterford Treasures Museum, a complex comprised of a medieval stone tower, a Georgian bishop’s palace and a modern purpose-built museum building.

Lunch: At a local Restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll explore the Waterford Treasures Museum with a local expert who will explain highlights of the collections. The museum’s exhibitions present artifacts from more than a thousand years of Waterford’s history, from the Viking age to the 1970s. After completing our transfer by motorcoach, we will check into the hotel with some time to unpack and relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll have a plated dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Trinity College, Book of Kells, National Museum, Free Time
Dublin.
B,L
Academy Plaza Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking approximately 3 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas, gravel paths.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, we’ll have a breakfast buffet featuring a variety of hot and cold items to choose from, plus juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will walk down the bustling and historic heart of Dublin - O’ Connell Street - and cross the River Liffey to Trinity College, sometimes referred to as the University of Dublin, which dates back to 1592 and is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland. While here, we will learn in detail about the history and art of this monumental institution as we are led through its beautiful grounds by a student of the university. It is also home to the Book of Kells, one of the finest examples of illuminated manuscript in the world. The artistry and attention to detail in its spellbinding calligraphy and illuminations truly is a sight to behold. The book, dating back to 800 C.E., is considered Ireland’s finest national treasure. We’ll have some time to explore the Book of Kells exhibition independently at the end of our field trip. We will continue by motorcoach to the National Museum of Ireland, which hosts a collection of four million objects from all over the world — with a specific focus on the history of Ireland. Our Group Leader will provide an introduction, followed by time for independent exploration.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time. This block of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Free Time, Irish Music & Dance
Dublin.
B,D
Academy Plaza Hotel

Activity note: Walking approximately 1 mile during group activities; paved streets. Extent and duration of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Free time for independent exploration in Dublin and the surrounding area.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We’ll have some more free time for independent exploration in Dublin and the surrounding area.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Dublin, we’ll have a plated and served meal featuring traditional Irish food while accompanied by a performance by local musicians. We’ll spend our last evening enjoying music and song as we bid farewell to Ireland and our newfound friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
Dublin.
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: In the hotel. Some participants may depart prior to breakfast, whereupon a boxed breakfast will be provided. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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